Crewe boss sends forceful message ahead of Portsmouth clash after being thrashed 6-0 by Oxford
David Artell rued a ‘totally unacceptable' performance as Crewe were thrashed by Oxford three days before the visit of Pompey.
Alexandra lost 6-0 to Karl Robinson's side at Gresty Road, with the visitors scoring five times in 13 minutes either side of half-time.
After promotion from League Two, Crewe have consolidated in the third tier this season and sit 15th in the table.
However, Artell wasn’t pleased how the Railwaymen dropped their standards against Oxford, who moved up to ninth.
The Alexandra has told his troops to ask themselves some tough questions ahead of Pompey's trip to Cheshire on Tuesday.
Artell told the club's website: ‘It was totally unacceptable. Most of them had a really bad day and we cannot surrender like we did.
‘The real intent wasn’t there and the mindset has to be better when we suffer a setback if that is in a game or game-to-game. It doesn’t normally happen but it has today and we have got to be better.
‘It has been a long, hard season and we have a lot of games coming up and it is no excuse. Everyone is in the same boat.
‘Things happened in the game and it really affected us and we have to be better. We not only stopped running but we also stopped giving up football and we did some crazy things that we would never tell them to do. That manifested into what it did.
‘We conceded the first goal and then the second goal. We should have them gone in at 2-0 at half-time and then re-assess things but then we concede a third and it is game over. That cannot happen.
‘It is like a boxer having a bloody nose one minute and because he is thinking about it, he gets himself knocked out. You have to roll with the punches more and certainly show more fight and spirit than we did.
‘We went in at half-time and I changed a couple of things, well a few more things, and it had a horrific effect. I am the culprit there and it is not them and us, we are all in this together whether it's win, lose or draw.
‘We had two good performances against Hull and MK Dons and lost one of them. We also had a really poor performance against Burton and a win at Northampton. We cannot be that inconsistent and they know that.
‘I’ve just told them to look in the mirror and ask yourselves some tough questions and did you represent yourselves and the club well enough? I think they know the answer.’
Pompey beat Crewe 4-1 in the reverse fixture at Fratton Park in November.